If there is anything I have come to know from growing up in the South, it is that the weather can do crazy things. The old saying in the Southeast goes, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around for a day or two.” The weather is completely unpredictable, to the point that even meteorologists seem to have a hard time at times determining what will happen.

In Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, as he writes about the marks of a true Christian, he challenges the church to love genuinely, to hate whatever is evil, to show brotherly affection, and to be in harmony with other Christians (in rejoicing and weeping). Then in verse 18, he calls them to “if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” As many things as are unpredictable in our world, Paul says that Christians should consistently live peaceably with all as far as it depends on [them]. By inspiration, Paul writes about our biggest temptation: to play the blame game. It is easy to say, “But they did….” Or, “If you only knew what he said….” Yes, others may act or talk in ways that strain peaceful living, but that is beyond the reach of our control. Too often “whatever they did” perfectly justifies “whatever we did” in response. We must take accountability for our own words and deeds that either foster or jeopardize peacefulness in our lives. While we can never change the behavior of others, we do have a choice about our own. Paul’s charge to them and to us is to place responsibility on ourselves as to how we live with others. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” There will be times that our desire for peace will compete with our desire for vengeance, revenge, or even spite, but if we are to be God’s people, we must choose to resist such a worldly enticement and choose rather whatever promotes peace.

Today I will…choose to speak and act in a way that cultivates a more peaceful world. I will refuse to match the attitudes of those who would terminate